A Quick Forum Guide

Is It Hard To Use?
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Forums in general, and vBulletin based forums specifically, are very easy to use. If you are a novice to computing or using forums, trust me that it isn't as hard as it looks. Once you know how to do a few basic things, you'll be a forum master in no time, despite your skill level.


What Is A Forum?
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Basically, a forum is an online community. It's a site where you can meet and communicate with other people about a variety of things, depending on the forum you are using. You can post and view info, photos and links. You can start a topic or conversation or reply to someone else's.


How Is The Forum Laid Out?
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The layout of the forum is simple. You start with the main page, which lists all the individual forums. When you click on one of these, you are taken into that forum, which lists all the individual topics contained within (which are referred to as "threads"). When you click on one of the threads, you are taken into the thread, where you can see all the individual posts in that thread.

So the forum is laid out in a sort of hierarchy, with the main page being the top, the individual forums underneath that, and finally the individual posts underneath those.


How Do I Start?
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Once you have registered, the best thing to do is post an introduction in the Introdcue Yourself Forum. That gives the other forum members a chance to say hello and welcome you, and gives you a bit of practice posting and replying on the forum. The rest is easy! Simply browse the various forums and check out what is going on. When you find a topic that you would like to reply to, simply jump in and post a reply. If you would like to start a topic or ask a question, simply pick the applicable forum and start a topic. Easy!


How Do I Start A Topic?
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To start a topic, or thread, simply click on the forum you wish to post in (for example, click on the name of the Introduce Yourself forum). This will bring you to the thread list, a list of all the current threads in that forum. To start a thread, simply click on the Post New Thread link at the top right corner of the thread list. This will bring you to the Editor, which is where you do most of your posting. Type in a title for your thread (such as Hello From Mik) in the Title box, then type your message in the main text box. When you are done, simply click on the Submit New Thread button and your message is automatically posted! You can then look at your shiny new post before you move on to bigger and better things.


How Do I Post A Reply?
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To post a reply, choose the thread you want to reply to. You can reply to any thread as long as it isn't closed by a Moderator. Once you are viewing the thread you wish to reply to, you have two choices. You can either type a message in the Quick Reply box at the bottom of the thread and click the Post Quick Reply button below the box, or you can click on the Post Reply button which is on the top and bottom of the thread. From there you enter your reply as explained in the above paragraph and click the Submit Reply button below the main text box when you are done.


How Do I Post A Photo?
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To post a photo on the forum, you simply include it in a post. Start a thread or a reply to enter the Editor. Once there, choose the point in the post you wish to include the photo. You can post the photo alone or anywhere in the post amongst your text. Now you have two choices: you can either include a link to your photo (which must be uploaded to another site or web space), or you can attach your photo (which uploads your photo to the site from your computer).

If you are linking to a photo, click on the Insert Image button on the Editor Toolbar. It is a little yellow button with what looks like a mountain in it. That brings up a box where you enter the full URL of your photo. When you click OK, your image will be inserted.

If you are attaching an image, click on the Manage Attachments button below the main text area. This will bring up a window where you can upload your photo and also includes a table showing what files you can upload and their sizes. Click on the Browse button to choose a photo on your computer or type in the URL of the photo you wish to upload. When you are done click the Upload button and finish your post as usual.


How Do I Include A Link In My Post?
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To include a link while in the Editor, click on the Insert Link button on the Editor Toolbar. The button has a little globe with a chain link below it. This brings a box up where you enter the URL of the link you which to include in your post. Click OK and you're done! You can also highlight a bit of text, click on the Insert Link button, enter the URL, click OK and that text will become a link when you finish the post.

AS far as the basics, that's really about it. Once you learn these few basics, you've really mastered the forum. You jump into any conversation or start your own, and I encourage you to do so. From there you can play with some of the advanced features the forum has to offer, and become addicted like everyone else!